Tag Archives: NetGalley

What’s Left of Me – Kat Zhang (Review)

11 Mar

Description

Eva and Addie started out the same way as everyone else–two souls woven together in one body, taking turns controlling their movements as they learned how to walk, how to sing, how to dance. But as they grew, so did the worried whispers. Why aren’t they settling? Why isn’t one of them fading? The doctors ran tests, the neighbors shied away, and their parents begged for more time. Finally Addie was pronounced healthy and Eva was declared gone. Except, she wasn’t…

For the past three years, Eva has clung to the remnants of her life. Only Addie knows she’s still there, trapped inside their body. Then one day, they discover there may be a way for Eva to move again. The risks are unimaginable-hybrids are considered a threat to society, so if they are caught, Addie and Eva will be locked away with the others. And yet…for a chance to smile, to twirl, to speak, Eva will do anything.

My thoughts

Let’s see … Did I love this book? The answer would be no. The first 30% of What’s Left Of Me almost made me give up on reading it. The plot was very slow and I just couldn’t get into the story. I don’t know exactly why because the characters were OK and the idea was somehow original: every person is born with two souls. One of the souls will become dominant and will control the body, while the other will slowly fade away and eventually disappear.

The main character of this book is Eva (she also narrates the story), a recessive soul, who shares the same body with her sister, Addie. Most children begin settling in kindergarten, some during middle school, but those two sisters never settled at all, which makes them a hybrid. Here is the problem: everyone thinks that the hybrids are a danger to the society, so when one is discovered it’s taken away by police and maybe institutionalised in order to be “helped” to settle.

In order to live a normal life with their family, Addie and Eva had to learn to lie, to pretend that they settled and that everything was normal about them. Addie was the only one in control, Eva being just trapped inside the body, with nothing else to do but just speaking with her sister and practically being a spectator to everything that happened in her life. Everything is going “well” until they meet two other hybrids – Hallie and Lissa; Devon and Ryan – who promise to teach Eva how to talk and walk again. Thinking this is a great opportunity, Eva convinces her sister to accept the offer, but this decision will soon change everything. All of them will be discovered and taken to a hospital where they should be helped to settle.

Like I said, the idea of the book was original, but at the same time I had a hard time trying to believe that that could actually happen in the real world. There was no explanation for how the world got that way, for how the hybrids first appeared. Also, I’m not sure exactly when the story takes place: in the near/far future or the present, in an alternate world? Since this is a trilogy, maybe the author will explain everything in the next books.

Eva is the main character and I know I should have felt sorry for her for being trapped inside a body and practically being dead to everyone, but there were a lot of moments when she got on my nerves. There were times when I just couldn’t sympathize with her because she acted in a selfish way, without thinking about the repercussions of her actions and decisions. In the end, I think I liked Addie more because she was more cautious.

I think I would have given What’s Left of Me 4 stars if I hadn’t previously read Unwind and The Darkest Powers trilogy. This book reminded me a lot of the books that I just mentioned, a good amount of the plot taking place in a hospital where the doctors made experiments on the children. With that being said, I will give this book 3 stars. So, did I love this book? No, but I admit it was a worthwhile read. I still recommend it and I hope you, guys, will like it more than I did!

Thanks to Netgalley.com and HarperCollins Publishers UK for sending me this e-book.

My rating cute_flower_smiley_face_sticker-p217285791912455194envb3_400cute_flower_smiley_face_sticker-p217285791912455194envb3_400cute_flower_smiley_face_sticker-p217285791912455194envb3_400

Haunted Places: True Encounters with the World Beyond – Hans Holzer (Review)

2 Feb

ebook, 52 pages
Published September 25th 2012 by Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers

 

Description

Join paranormal expert and ghost hunter Hans Holzer as he investigates the most famous haunted locations around the world.

Ghosts have been known to haunt not only houses but other locations as well—such as dark forests, trains, ships, and even airplanes. Professor Hans Holzer looks at several of the most menacing of these cases, from the ghost bride of Nob Hill in San Francisco to the “gray man” of Pawley’s Island in South Carolina and the haunted organ at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.

My thoughts

I could compare “Haunted Places: True Encounters with the World Beyond” with “A Haunting”, a paranormal TV series which I used to watch from time to time on Discovery Channel. This book contains several stories about haunted places which the author visited alone or with a psychic friend of his.

The author described very well the locations and he also presented the history of all those places as well as people’s experiences, their encounter with ghosts. Even though the provided information was interesting in most of the stories, some of them contained too much history and tended to be quite boring.

What I liked:
-Some of the stories were quite spooky.
-In several cases, the author presented the identities of the ghosts.

What I didn’t like:
-The history parts were boring sometimes.
-I wish certain locations were analyzed in more depth.
-Some of the stories were accompanied by photos, but I wish more of them were included for us to be able to see the haunted locations.

All in all, I found this book interesting and I will continue to read more books written by Hans Holzer.
Thanks to Netgalley.com and Open Road Integrated Media for sending me this e-book.

My rating:  cute_flower_smiley_face_sticker-p217285791912455194envb3_400cute_flower_smiley_face_sticker-p217285791912455194envb3_400cute_flower_smiley_face_sticker-p217285791912455194envb3_400

Hysteria – Megan Miranda (Review)

23 Jan

Paperback, 272 pages
Expected publication: February 14th 2013 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (first published February 5th 2013)

 

Description

Mallory’s life is falling apart.

Her boyfriend was stabbed. He bled to death in her kitchen. Mallory was the one who stabbed him. But she can’t remember what happened that night. She only remembers the fear…

When Mallory’s parents send her away to a boarding school, she thinks she can escape the gossip and the threats. But someone, or something, has followed her. There’s the hand that touches her shoulder when she’s drifting off to sleep. A voice whispering her name. And everyone knows what happened. So when a pupil is found dead, Mallory’s name is on their lips.

Her past can be forgotten but it’s never gone. Can Mallory live with that?

My thoughts

Thanks to Netgalley.com and Bloomsbury Publishing Plc for sending me this e-book.

I was somehow disappointed with this book, not because it wasn’t good, but because I expected so much more from it. Seeing the cover and reading the description, I thought Hysteria was going to be a little bit creepy and full of suspense. Unfortunately, for the most part it was another “girl goes to another school, encounters some mean girls and falls in love with a nice boy” story. Don’t get me wrong, there were some suspenseful scenes and some mysteries that needed to be solved, but for me those weren’t enough. I think the plot should have been more focused on those aspects than on the teenage drama or romance.

Mallory is a 16-year-old girl who killed her boyfriend-Brian. Though she can’t remember what exactly happened, the evidence points to self-defense, so she is cleared from the accusations. Since her parents think that she is in danger because Brian’s mother is stalking her, they decide to send Mallory to a boarding school (I don’t really understand what they were thinking: that once she gets there she will forget everything and have a happy life?). Unfortunately her life doesn’t become easier. Everyone knows about the incident and is judging her, she is still haunted by the event and on top of that she thinks that someone is after her. Mallory has a sleeping disorder, every night she has the same nightmare and in the morning she finds bruises on her body. Even though she knows this is wrong, she never tells anyone about it, and she refuses to seek help. At the boarding school she also meets an old friend, Reid, who eventually becomes her boyfriend.

I liked the fact that we don’t know from the beginning why Mallory decided to kill Brian. Throughout the story there are some flashbacks about her past and little snippets that help us understand what happened that night. Then, there are the nightmares and the marks that appear every morning on her body. I am still a little bit confused about how she got them, but those two elements were actually what kept me interested in Hysteria and made me finish reading it in a few hours. Even though those were my favourite parts of the book, I still think they could have been more developed and that the author should have written more about the psychological aspect of the book instead of romance or teenage drama. I wanted the book to be more dark and more focused on Mallory’s struggle to fight Brian’s memory. Also, I found some things a little bit predictable (I am mostly talking about the person who was stalking the main character at the boarding school).

All in all, I think Hysteria was better in premise than execution, but I still recommend it. It is a good teen thriller.

I ran away. And only when I was a good ways past the diner and the gas station did I realize I was running toward something. No, not something. Someone.

You may not be able to outrun your past, but you can sure as hell try.

My ratingcute_flower_smiley_face_sticker-p217285791912455194envb3_400cute_flower_smiley_face_sticker-p217285791912455194envb3_400cute_flower_smiley_face_sticker-p217285791912455194envb3_400

Send – Patty Blount (Review)

23 Dec

Paperback, 304 pages
Published August 1st 2012 by Sourcebooks Fire

Description

It’s been five years since I clicked Send.
Four years since I got out of juvie.
Three months since I changed my name.
Two minutes since I met Julie.
A second to change my life.

All Dan wants for his senior year is to be invisible. This is his last chance at a semi-normal life. Nobody here knows who he is. Or what he’s done. But on his first day at school, instead of turning away like everyone else, Dan breaks up a fight. Because Dan knows what it’s like to be terrorized by a bully—he used to be one.

Now the whole school thinks he’s some kind of hero—except Julie. She looks at him like she knows he has a secret. Like she knows his name isn’t really Daniel…

My thoughts

The main character of this book is Dan (real name: Kenneth), an 18-year-old boy who made a mistake when he was 13: he posted a photo of a boy in his underwear on the Internet, because he thought it was funny. Later, the boy commited suicide and, to be punished, Dan was sent to juvie for nine months. Because when he gets out everyone is judging him and is violent towards him, his family decides to try and give him a new life by changing town, school and even their identities. Dan feels like his life will be normal again, he meets Julie, whom he falls in love instantaneously, and Brandon who becomes his best friend. There is just one problem that will change everything: Julie has a big secret and Brandon is planning to kill himself, because he is bullied.

I liked the characters and I think they were developed pretty well. Even though Dan made a big mistake I couldn’t stay mad at him. You can see his pain and his struggle to redeem himself. He knows that he did something wrong, but he needs to learn to forgive his 13-year-old self and move on, something which happens but at the end of the book. His family is very loving and supportive and is willing to do everything to protect their son.

We don’t meet only Dan, but also Kenny, his 13-year-old version, whom Dan started seeing during detention. “They talk” daily, arguing and trying to find a way for Dan to forgive himself for what he did in the past. I wasn’t a big fan of this “character” and I think that I would have liked the book more if Kenny hadn’t been part of it, but in the end I became aware of his importance.

With Julie, I had a love-hate relationship. She was too moody, she kissed Dan, next she didn’t want to talk to him, she was happy, than she was angry. Also, she watched Brandon being bullied and she did nothing about it, even though her brother commited suicide because he had been bullied. Her life isn’t easy, her parents are divorced and she thinks her father started hating her after his son’s death. She also keeps a secret from Dan, a secret which is revealed nearly the end of the book.

Send is a quick read, it’s dramatic, deep, it has an important message and it will leave you thinking long after you finish reading it. I recommend it to everyone.

Thanks to Netgalley.com and Sourcebooks Fire for sending me this e-book.

My rating:  cute_flower_smiley_face_sticker-p217285791912455194envb3_400cute_flower_smiley_face_sticker-p217285791912455194envb3_400cute_flower_smiley_face_sticker-p217285791912455194envb3_400cute_flower_smiley_face_sticker-p217285791912455194envb3_400

 

When I look inside me for the voice, I see me but yet…not me, not exactly. More like a version of me, the me I used to be at thirteen. All gangly limbs, big feet, and bad skin. I call him Kenny and try to keep him bound to a dark, empty corner of my mind. If I could find a way to gag him too, I’d be psyched. As hard as I fight to forgive myself for what I did to Liam Murphy, Kenny fights as hard to make sure I can’t. I figure he’s just one more part of God’s Wrath Plan I’d put in motion five years earlier when I was thirteen.

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About the author:

Technical writer by day, fiction writer by night, Patty mines her day job for ideas to use in her novels. Her debut YA “Send” was born after a manager suggested she research social networks. Patty adores chocolate, her boys, and books, though not necessarily in that order.

Saving June – Hannah Harrington (Review)

16 Nov

Paperback, UK, 336 pages
Published June 1st 2012 by Mira Ink (first published May 1st 2011)

Description

Your sister is dead. Nineteen songs can tell you why. Only one boy can help you understand.

Harper Scott’s older sister, June, took her own life a week before high school graduation, leaving Harper devastated. So when her divorcing parents decide to split up June’s ashes, Harper steals the urn and takes off cross-country with her best friend, Laney, to the one place June always dreamed of going-California.

Enter Jake Tolan, a boy with a bad attitude, a classic-rock obsession…and an unknown connection to June. When he insists on joining them, Harper’s just desperate enough to let him. With his alternately charming and infuriating demeanour and his belief that music can see you through anything, he might be exactly what Harper needs. Except…Jake’s keeping a secret that has the power to turn her life upside down again.

My thoughts

“Your sister is dead. Your family’s falling apart. How do you remember who you are?” This and the fact that the book had a 4.1 rating on Goodreads really grabbed my attention. Then I read the description and I really thought I was going to like it very much. I thought it was going to be dramatic, but it turned out to be just another “girl meets boy, girl falls in love, happy ending” book. I admit it. I liked the first few chapters, but then it sort of went downhill for me, mainly because I didn’t like the main character.

‘If she’d waited less than two weeks, she’d be June who died in June. But I guess my sister didn’t consider that.’

So, Harper is a 16 years old girl whose life is far from perfect. Her parents are divorced and her sister, June, just committed suicide. The relationship between Harper and June was never the best one, but Harper is very shocked by her sister’s choice – to take her own life, just a week before her graduation, without even explaining why. Since her sister always wanted to move to California, Harper takes the ultimate decision: to go with her best friend there and spill June’s ashes in the ocean. There is just one problem: they can’t afford the trip. Here is where Jake Tolan enters the story and offers to accompany the two girls to California. Apparently, he had a connection with June, so Harper takes his offer. Then, an almost-two-weeks-journey begins….

Like I previously said, I didn’t like the main character. Yes, there were moments when I felt sorry for her and I tried to sympathise with her, but, overall, I couldn’t connect with Harper. Firstly, I think she was very selfish to steal the urn and decide what to do with it, without telling her parents. I understand that they didn’t get along very well, but June was their daughter too. Harper is treated like an outcast, but just because she is acting like one. She just tries too hard to be something she’s not, to differentiate herself from her sister. She is constantly mean and judgy towards Jake, but at the same time she can’t stop thinking about him. They finally kiss after a week or so and, in the same day, Harper loses her virginty to him. What does she do the next day? She’s complaining again about him… What I liked about Harper was her loyalty to Laney, she was always defending her and taking her side.

“There is so much beauty in just existing. In being alive. I don’t want to miss a second.”

I guess Laney was an ok character. She is Harper’s best friend and she is very supportive. She is kind of fun, and, as opposed to Harper, she makes friends very easily. At the same time, she enjoys sleeping with boys and she even ends up getting pregnant. But don’t worry because everything is resolved: she has a misscariage. I still don’t understand what was the point in this pregnancy event since it didn’t add anything to the story.

Last but not least, we have Jake, a boy who loves music, smokes, dresses in black and owns a van. He is the “bad boy” to whom Harper falls in love. He has a sad backstory, which we discover slowly throughout the entire book. He reminded me a little of Adam from If I Stay and Where She Went, but I didn’t like him as much. He is obsessed with music, and even though that was what I loved the most about him, sometimes he tries to shove his passion down everyone’s throats.

“douche-baggy hipster music snob with the tastes of a forty-year-old white guy.”

I didn’t hate Saving June, but I think the book would have been better without the romance aspect, or at least if that would have been handled in a different way. I couldn’t stand the love-hate relationship between Harper and Jake. I also think it should have been more focused on June and the relationship between the two sisters. There were moments when June was completely forgotten, even though she is the main reason of this book. I loved the music references and that the author included the playlist at the end of the book.

Thanks to Netgalley.com and Mira Ink for sending me this e-book.

My rating:   

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About the author

Hannah Harrington is a YA author. Her first novel, SAVING JUNE, was published by Harlequin Teen in 2011, and her second, SPEECHLESS, was released on August 28th, 2012.

The Mourning House – Ronald Malfi (Review)

2 Nov

Description

Devastated by tragedy, Dr. Sam Hatch is a shadow of his former self. He travels the byroads of America, running away from a past he cannot escape. There is no salvation for him.

And then he sees the house. Like a siren, it calls to him. Yet the house is not what it appears to be. Is it a blessing, a gift…or a curse?

My thoughts

Sam Hatch had a nice life – good friends, a successful career and a lovely family – but everything changed after a car accident. He was the one driving the car that night and, because he fell asleep at the wheel, his wife and daughter died.

Even though he feels responsible for the accident, he tries to move on with his life and to leave the past behind. But that is very hard because everything reminds him of his family. He keeps hearing his wife’s voice and his baby’s crying in the empty rooms of his house, he thinks that he is not alone, that there is a presence following him, so he takes the decision to leave the house for good and to start travelling.

After a year of wandering, he arrives in a little town where he finds an old, abandoned house and, because it seems that the house is calling him, he decides to buy it. Not long after that, he realises that the house is not what it seems. There are stories about it, frightening ones and people say it’s haunted. But those don’t scare Sam and he decides that this is the right place for him to live in so he starts the renovation of the property. Soon, things start to move, noises are coming through the walls and little by little the house seems to transform itself into his former house, in which Sam and his family used to live. Firstly, the floor resembles the old one, he discovers a room which is identical to his little daughter’s room and finally he finds the bones of his dog, the one that he left to his friends, a year before. He comes to the conclusion that the house is a puzzle and he has to solve it.

I liked the story very much. It was a creepy, short read and the atmosphere was quite frightening and claustrophobic. My only problem was with the ending. Not because it wasn’t a happy one, but because I found it rushed. I still don’t know whether the house was haunted or everything happened in Sam’s imagination. Other than that, I don’t have any other complaints about the book.

I think the author did a great job and I hope you’ll also enjoy The Mourning House!
Thanks to Netgalley.com and DarkFuse for sending me this e-book.

My rating:     

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About the author

Ronald Malfi is an award-winning novelist and short fiction writer whose most notable works include the novels Via Dolorosa and Shamrock Alley. His short fiction has appeared in numerous magazines and collections throughout the US and abroad. Most recognized for his haunting, literary style and memorable characters, Malfi writes fiction that transcends genres to gain wider acceptance among readers of quality literature.

He resides in Maryland with his wife, Debra, where he is currently at work on his next book.

A Cold and Lonely Place – Sara J. Henry (Review)

31 Oct

Hardcover, 304 pages
Expected publication: February 5th 2013 by Crown

Description

Troy Chance returns in another riveting novel from the author of the critically acclaimed Learning to Swim

Freelance writer Troy Chance is snapping photos of the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival ice palace when the ice-cutting machine falls silent. Encased in the ice is the shadowy outline of a body–a man she knows. One of her roommates falls under suspicion, and the media descends. Troy’s assigned to write an in-depth feature on the dead man, who, it turns out, was the privileged son of a wealthy Connecticut family who had been playing at a blue collar life in this Adirondack village. And the deeper Troy digs into his life and mysterious death, the murkier things become. After the victim’s sister comes to town and a string of disturbing incidents unfold, it’s clear someone doesn’t want the investigation to continue. Troy doesn’t know who to trust, and what she ultimately finds out threatens to shatter the serenity of these mountain towns. She must decide which family secrets should be exposed, what truths should remain hidden, and how far her own loyalty can reach.
   A Cold and Lonely Place, the sequel to Learning to Swim, follows Troy on a powerful emotional journey as she discovers the damage left by long-hidden secrets, and catches a glimpse of what might have been.

My thoughts

I finally managed to finish reading this book. It took me more than a week because I didn’t have much time for reading, but I also found A Cold and Lonely Place a bit slow. That doesn’t mean I didn’t like it, because I really did, but I think the pace could have been more alert.

Published February 22nd 2011 by Crown

This is supposed to be a sequel to Learning to Swim, but I think it can be read as a stand-alone, even though some characters from the first book make an appearance or are mentioned in this one.

Troy Chance is a freelancer writer who is assigned to write some articles about Tobin, whose body is found in the frozen Saranac Lake. Even though she didn’t know the victim very well, Tobin’s death has a big impact on her, mostly because he used to be her roommate’s boyfriend. In order to write those articles she needs to dig deep into the victim’s life to find details about his childhood, his family, his relationship with Jessamyn and maybe to discover if Tobin’s death was an accident or if someone murdered him. With the help of his sister and the people who used to know him, Troy learns slowly that her first impression of Tobin was actually wrong (“I would have pegged him for trouble from the start, with his frat-boy good looks, floppy hair, sleepy brown eyes, and different manner. It was written all over him that he was the sort of person who assumes life should go his way, no matter what. I suspected he’d gone to an elite prep school, then partied himself right out of Harvard or Princeton before drifting up here, where no one ever asked where or if you’d gone to university”. She also thought that he was violent against Jessamyn and that he influenced her in a bad way).

The only thing which I didn’t like about this book was the pace. I liked the writing style, but the pace was too slow for me and I think that some paragraphs should have been left out. There were a lot of moments when the author was describing the food eaten by the characters and what they were cooking (e.g.: “She had brought wine, which we poured into juice glasses and had with bread and cheese…cicken and cheese blended with broccoli and noodles, with a spice I couldn’t identify…I cooked oatmeal and eggs”).

I found the storyline interesting, unpredictable and the characters were very likeable so, all in all, A Cold and Lonely Place was an enjoyable read.
Thanks to Netgalley.com and Crown for sending me this e-book.

My rating  

You can preorder the book from Amazon or The Book Depository.

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About the author 

Sara J. Henry’s first novel, LEARNING TO SWIM, has been called “an auspicious debut” by Daniel Woodrell (WINTER’S BONE) and “emotional, intense, and engrossing” by Lisa Unger. It won the 2012 Anthony Award for best first novel, the 2012 Agatha Award for best first novel and the 2012 Mary Higgins Clark Award, and was nominated for the Barry and Macavity awards. The sequel, A COLD AND LONELY PLACE, will be out Feb. 5, 2013 – Howard Frank Mosher calls it “a character-driven thriller set in one of the coldest and loneliest places in the United States: the Adirondack Mountains in mid-winter.”

Entangled – Nikki Jefford (Review)

20 Oct
Kindle Edition, 303 pages
Published February 20th 2012 by Nikki Jefford

Description

Two months after dying, seventeen-year-old witch Graylee Perez wakes up in her twin sister Charlene’s body.

Until Gray finds a way back inside her own body, she’s stuck being Charlene every twenty-hour hours. Her sister has left precise instructions on how Gray should dress and behave. Looking like a prep isn’t half as bad as hanging out with Charlene’s snotty friends and gropey boyfriend.

The “normals” of McKinley High might be quick to write her behavior off as post-traumatic stress, but warlock Raj McKenna is the only person who suspects Gray has returned from the dead.

Now Gray has to solve the mystery of her death and resurrection and disentangle herself from Charlene’s body before she disappears for good.

***Entangled is a young adult paranormal fantasy romance suitable for ages 15 and up.***

My thoughts

I don’t have much to say about this book. I just didn’t care about the story, nor the characters. I didn’t hate it, but I had difficulties finishing it because it wasn’t entertaining enough for me.

I thought the cover was very pretty (even though I realise now that it doesn’t have anything in common with the story) and I found the description quite interesting, so I was very happy when I got the chance to read Entangled. Unfortunately, it disappointed me.

“Two months after dying, seventeen-year-old witch Graylee Perez wakes up in her twin sister Charlene’s body.” This part actually happens after 8 chapters. What happened before? Well, let’s see…

Charlene threatens to commit suicide because her boyfriend (who previously cheated on her) dumped her and he’s now dating another girl. Then she threatens to kill the new girlfriend and then she thinks of a plan to get him back and she ends up killing her own sister (it was an accident, but still…) and put a girl in a coma.

The mother is a passive woman. She knows everything about Charlene’s “plans”, about the suicide attempt but she doesn’t react in any way. She thinks everything is a joke, she sort of encourages her daughter to get back her boyfriend and takes both Charlene and Graylee to shopping. That’s her way of dealling with the problems.

Graylee fantasies about Raj, an Indian warlock who is in love with her, but who pulls her hair and somehow bullies her. How does she react? By trying to choke him with a string and by threatening him. This is how they relationship starts. She and her sister have a good relation until Graylee finds out that Charlene has been blocking her powers for several years. That’s when everything changes. The sister rivalry begins and Graylee ends up being dead.

“Two months after dying, seventeen-year-old witch Graylee Perez wakes up in her twin sister Charlene’s body.” When she wakes up and finds out that she died she has no reaction, like it is not a big deal. Why does she wake up? Because a ressurection spell was done, but the mother didn’t specify wanting the girls in separate bodies. What happens next? Read the description.

All the characters were annoying and not well developed. They were not believable and many of their actions didn’t make much sense. The plot had potential, but the result wasn’t a good one. At least not for me. Maybe you’ll enjoy it more.

Thanks to Netgalley.com and Nikki Jefford for sending me this e-book.

My rating:      

You can buy it from Amazon or The Book Depository.

Next books in the series:  

Eleanor & Park – Rainbow Rowell (Review)

17 Oct

Paperback, 336 pages
Published April 12th 2012 by Orion

Description

Bono met his wife in high school, Park says.
So did Jerry Lee Lewis, Eleanor answers.
I’m not kidding, he says.
You should be, she says, we’re 16.
What about Romeo and Juliet?
Shallow, confused, then dead.

I love you, Park says.
Wherefore art thou, Eleanor answers.
I’m not kidding, he says.
You should be.

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love—and just how hard it pulled you under.

My thoughts

US cover, Hardcover, 320 pages
Expected publication: March 5th 2013 by St. Martin’s Press

I’m not a big fan of romances but I absolutely loved this book. It is a love story, but not a light one.

Eleanor & Park is the story of two teens who live in Omaha and meet for the first time on the school bus, in 1986. She is the “new girl”, “big and awkward, with crazy hair, bright red on top of curly…she had on a plaid shirt, a man’s shirt, with half a dozen weird necklaces hanging around her neck and scarves wrapped around her wrists. She reminded Park of a scarecrow…”. That is Park’s first impression of Eleanor. He is a “weird Asian kid. He had green eyes. And skin the color of sunshine through honey”. That’s how Eleanor sees him.

They are both outsiders, but each of them in a different way. She just moved in the neighborhood to her mom and stepdad’s small house, where she has to share a small room with her other four younger siblings. She is poor. Her family is not perfect…her stepfather drinks a lot and is violent towards everyone, her mother doesn’t do anything about that, even though her husband beats her and treats her like a servant and her real father has a new family and doesn’t really want Eleanor to be a part of it. On top of that, everyone at school labels her as an outcast the moment she steps onto the school bus. He feels like an outsider because of his Korean origin and sometimes people make racist jokes about him. Parker has some friends but he doesn’t have a lot in common with them. He and his brother take taekwondo lessons because their dad loves martial arts and wants his sons to act like “real men”. He loves music and comic books and after a few days those two things manage to create a powerful bond between Eleanor and Park. But their relationship has to face quite a lot of obstacles. Will they manage to overcome all the difficulties and have a happy ending? Read and find out.:)

The book was a page turner for me. I read it in two days (it took me so long because I didn’t have much time for reading), I really wanted to know what was going to happen with the two characters.

The story is told from Eleanor’s and Park’s perspectives. I loved the main characters, they were strong and the author allowed them to stand both as individuals and as a couple. The characters evolved throughout the book; in the end they managed to find themselves and to accept the way they were.

I liked the author’s writing style. The story seemed very real and all the characters were very believable. Music and comic books have a big role in this book. There are a lot of references to bands and singers from that period (The Smiths, The Beatles, Elvis Costello and many, many others). That’s why I think the US cover is perfect for this book.

I recommend Eleanor & Park to everyone and I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.
Thanks to Netgalley.com and St. Martin’s Press for sending me this e-book.

My rating:

 

You can buy/preorder the book from Amazon or The Book Depository.

The Twisted Window – Lois Duncan (Review)

13 Oct

ebook, 184 pages
Published August 28th 2012 by Open Road Young Readers (first published May 1st 1987)

 

Description

The new guy at Tracy’s school is handsome, intense, and desperately needs her help—but there’s something about him that isn’t quite right.

High school junior Tracy Lloyd is unsure about the new guy in school. Brad Johnson is attractive, smart, and polite, but Tracy can’t help but feel he watches her too closely. Then one day Brad confides in Tracy a horrible secret: His little sister Mindy has been kidnapped by his stepfather, and he needs Tracy’s help to get her back. But even as Tracy commits to a plan to help her vulnerable new friend, details emerge that suggest nothing is what it seems.
The Twisted Window is a zigzagging thriller that keeps readers guessing up until the final page. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Lois Duncan including rare images and never-before-seen documents from the author’s personal collection.

My thoughts

I’ve never read anything written by Lois Duncan before and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. It is a page turner and you have to read until the last chapter to receive the answers to your questions: Why and when has Brad became so disturbed and what exactly happened to Mindy, his little sister?

The story begins with Brad searching for a particular type of girl to help him out. We don’t know why and what his plan is (for a few pages I actually thought he was a murderer who was looking for his next victim), but he finds Tracy who seems to be the right choice. She is attracted to him and she thinks he is interested in her, but soon she finds out that’s not the case. He just wants her help to get back his sister who has been kidnapped by his stepfather. Brad has good answers to all of Tracy’s questions (why isn’t the police involved, why is he hiding from his mother the fact that he found Mindy?…) and he convinces her to help. She mainly agrees because she is angry with her father abandoning her to her uncle and aunt’s home and she makes a connection between her story and Mindy’s.
After succeeding in helping Brad she finds out that he is not exactly what he seemed, that everything was far from the truth. She realises that she made a bad decision trusting him and now she has to fix her mistake.

I liked that the story was told from alternating point of views, mainly from Tracy’s and Brad’s, that it was full of suspense, twists and turns and I think the author did a good job describing the characters.

I think that Tracy’s decision of helping Brad was rushed…he was a stranger, a person whom she met only a couple of days before. I understand that there were some events that triggered her decision, but still…she could of seen that there was something odd about Brad’s behavior. There were many signs that indicated the fact that she was making a mistake, but she saw them too late.

The Twisted Window is an intense YA thriller and I recommend it to others.
Thanks to Netgalley.com and Open Road Media for sending me this e-book.

My rating

Different covers

    

You can buy it from Amazon, The Book Depository.